My home, the wonderful Commonwealth of Virginia, is becoming a national laughingstock, and it's the Democrats' fault. When I say that, my Democrat friends no doubt want to point at Trump and Steve King and Roy Moore and all the other Republican problems, and they are right: the Republicans have lots of problems.
And those problems are a big reason I am not a Republican. But this isn’t about the Republicans. This is about the Democrats.
And pointing at the problems on the right doesn't change this basic fact: the Democrats are humiliating the state we love in front of the entire world, and they could end it today, and they refuse.
The problem is that the Democrats have tied their own hands, bracketing their acceptable alternatives between their unwise, fanatical devotion to Zero Tolerance Political Correctness on the front end, and their willingness to put politics above principle on the back end.
On the front end, when the initial blackface allegations about Virginia Governor Ralph Northam surfaced more than a week ago, Democrats rushed to demand his resignation. It was an easy virtue signaling opportunity, like when Al Franken was accused. They could demonstrate their devotion to Zero Tolerance Political Correctness approach by calling for resignation, safe in the knowledge that his replacement would be another Democrat.
Democrats fell all over themselves to condemn Northam and his racism. Yes, his ill-advised sin occurred 35 years ago, and since then he’s been a strong ally to the civil rights cause… but who cares? Off with his head!
Then, as everyone on the planet and in the International Space Station now knows, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, the constitutionally proscribed successor, was accused by two women of rape, and the next in line, Attorney General Mark Herring, sensing that he better get ahead of the mob, proactively announced that he also wore blackface at a party while a 19-year-old college student in the 1980s.
A principled party would have then called for the resignation of all three of Virginia’s top office holders, given the Zero Tolerance Political Correctness stands they’d previously, loudly made with Northam/Franken and Supreme Court nominee-now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Instead… nothing. Why?
Because the next in line for the governor’s office would be Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox. Who is… wait for it… a Republican.
All this became clear on Sunday. Five days ago.
But the Democrats were trapped. They’d trapped themselves. While many have slowly come around to applying their Kavanaugh standard to Fairfax and calling for his resignation, they cannot not absolve Northam or Herring because that would mean backing off their sacred Zero Tolerance Political Correctness stand. Yet, they cannot put principle and Commonwealth over politics and allow a Republican to ascend to the governor’s office.
Since Sunday, every day, for five days, our wonderful Commonwealth of Virginia has been the butt of late-night comedian’s jokes, the subject of op-ed pieces, the face of Southern Racism Revived…
Five days of the worst publicity any state has probably endured since… well, Mississippi during the 60s?
And it all could have ended Sunday night. Five days ago. But the Democrats won’t end it.
One of the worst aspects of this is that Virginia is taking the hit for an entire generation.
As I’ve written on Facebook this past week, this isn’t a Virginia issue. This is a generational issue. What is happening here will be repeated across the country until all the people who made these mistakes in their past are eliminated. And that is going to be a LOT of people, in politics, business, and any other high-profile field.
And then, as society continues to progress and in the future we correctly realize something we do now is unenlightened or offensive or racist, that future set of standards will be applied to today’s actions, and a future set of leaders will need to be purged.
Unless we come to terms with the fact that humans, like human civilization, learn and progress and get better, which necessarily means we were not better before. But to move forward we need to acknowledge that we weren’t better before, get better, and then allow ourselves and support each other in moving forward together.
Everyone, everyone, everyone… has made mistakes. And everyone learns. And we cannot afford to purge everyone who has made a mistake. Particularly those people who are willing to acknowledge their mistakes and grow and continue to contribute positively to our country.
We rightly fight to help ex-felons get their rights back and find employment. But someone who made a mistake like Northam, who learned from it and went on to champion civil rights... permitting redemption for that person is more than a Zero Tolerance Political Correctness fanatic can allow.
So Virginia is stuck. Embarrassed. Miserable. And all because the Democrats are too proud to back off a misguided purity standard, and too politically craven to allow a Republican to attempt to lead our Commonwealth out of this nightmare.
Point at Trump and Moore and King and all the other bad Republicans all you want. Hell, I agree with you. They stink. But… that is irrelevant to this situation. Virginia’s excruciating embarrassment is the Democrats’ fault. And they could have ended it on Sunday night. Or Monday. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or yesterday. Or this afternoon. But they won’t.
And that stinks too.